Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Nitpicky Friends

By Nichole Giles

The other day my husband paid me the nicest compliment. It wasn’t your average; “You look nice” compliment either. He could’ve said, “You’re the most beautiful woman in the world” or “You’re the best cook” or “The house looks perfect, you must’ve spent all day cleaning.” Okay, I admit those are all far from the truth. My house is never perfect; I only cook when I have to, and I believe beauty is internal.

What he said was much more meaningful, definitely more thoughtful, and spiked my ego in a way nothing else could. He said, “Your writing has really grown.”

A person who didn’t write might not understand the depth of this praise, but to me it was the ultimate flattery. I’ve been working toward writing professionally for over a year. I admit, it has been hard for me to subject myself to scrutiny from those I’m close to, but the one person whose opinion matters most just told me I’m getting better.

He went on to explain, “You were good when you started. With time you’ve become even better.”

His thoughts gave me cause to think to myself. What have I done to improve my writing in the past year? I made a list: I took some writing classes, attended writing conferences, read many books (including several books about writing), set daily writing goals and strive to keep them, and joined a writer’s group. All these things have helped me a great deal. Classes and conferences have taught me a lot, and I know the more I write, the better writer I will become. But joining the writer’s group has catapulted my confidence in my writing abilities into new and amazing places.

My friends love me enough to be brutal. They will pick apart every sentence I write as long as they need picking. They aren’t afraid to tell me when something doesn’t make sense, or sounds awkward, or just plain stinks. When one of them reads through one of my documents I fully expect it to come back to me with a rainbow of colored corrections. This is the best way to catch all the nitpicky things I couldn’t see for myself. I’ve discovered being nitpicky is the best way to get things done.

Thanks to my husband for his innocently poetic flattery. To all my friends at Authors Incognito, thanks for being the nitpicky, ink-wielding, brutally honest critic’s that you are. Because of you, my writing has grown.

No comments: